Corrective Action

21.0 General122003-08-032015-02-032015-02-032016-02-29

Corrective action is the process of using increasingly severe steps or measures when an employee or volunteer fails to correct a problem after being given a reasonable opportunity to do so. The underlying principle of a sound corrective action policy is to use the least severe action necessary to correct the undesirable situation and then increase the severity of the action only if the condition is not corrected.

The following guidelines should be followed when implementing a corrective action procedure where an Association employee is concerned. The extent to which the guidelines are strictly followed with respect to volunteers (as compared to Association employees) is at the discretion of the volunteer leader/advisor.

  • Thoroughly investigate the situation, which includes obtaining the employee's and/or volunteer's explanation or response prior to administering corrective action.
  • Document the process and results of the investigation.
  •  It is acceptable to repeat a step if it is reasonable to expect it will correct the problem. This may be the case if some time has passed since it was last necessary to address the issue and the situation has only recently reappeared. Or perhaps, the employee/volunteer misunderstood the initial communication and there is value in doing it again in a clearer fashion. If repeating the step works, the situation has been resolved without escalating it unnecessarily. However, if repeating a step does not resolve the problem, then move on to a higher step.
  • The goal is to modify the unacceptable behavior or improve the performance. The goal is not to punish the employee/volunteer but to more strongly alert him or her of the need to correct the problem.
  • There is no rigid set of steps nor is there an inflexible rule that all steps must be followed before terminating an employee or volunteer relationship. The circumstances of each case will help determine which step to use. Early, less stringent, measures are skipped for serious offenses such as insubordination, theft, physical violence, drug or alcohol use, etc. All steps are typically used for attendance or general work performance problems.
  • It is acceptable to have a witness or note-taker present when meeting with the employee/volunteer during the corrective action process.  The witness/note-taker should never be a peer of the employee/volunteer. The employee/volunteer has the right to have a witness of his/her choice present as well.

Typical steps in a corrective action procedure include:

  • Counseling or Verbal Warning
  • Written Warning
  • Realignment of Duties and/or Reduction in Pay
  • Suspension Without Pay
  • Termination

In each of the above steps, three essential elements need to be present and discussed prior to taking corrective action.

  1. The employee/volunteer is explicitly informed of the unacceptable behavior or performance and is given specific work-related examples.
  2. The acceptable behavior or performance standards are explained and the employee/volunteer is given reasonable time to comply. This may be a longer time frame if a skill needs to be learned or a shorter time frame if it is a behavior to be changed.
  3. The employee/volunteer is informed of the consequences of failing to comply. This is not a threat; rather it gives the employee/volunteer reasonable expectations of the consequences if change does not occur.
Updated March 30, 2015